Everyone knows the perks of travelling to new locations around the world: experiencing adventure, culture and history in beautiful picture-perfect locations. Trying new foods in Iceland can certainly be a beautiful adventure!
Enjoy our curated Icelandic food menu below:
No Iceland food list would be complete without Hákarl & Brennivín – the dynamic duo of must-taste Icelandic cuisine. A historic ritual is involved in preparing Hákarl (aka Fermented Greenland shark).
First, the fish is beheaded, gutted, and buried in a shallow grave. Then, it’s placed on top of sand and covered with gravel. Stones placed on top of the sand to press the fish and squeeze poisonous juices from its meat. Roughly 12 weeks later the shark is taken out of the ground, cut into strips and hung to dry for several months. After drying Hákarl is cut into small chunks and served on toothpicks. The strong smell and taste are eased with a few shots of Brennivín.
Harðfiskur (Hard fish) is typically made with haddock, cod, or catfish. The process includes beating the fish, rolling it in salt, and hang drying (or cold drying). The tasty fish is high in protein and vitamins, and often served with butter, bread and other meats at the start of a meal.
Plokkfisker is a traditional Icelandic dish. Originally a “left-over” creation, this popular fish stew is a cultural favorite comfort food served with a side of Rye bread. Plokkfisker literally translates to “plucked fish” and its base is either cod or haddock. The stew is accented and flavored with onion, bay leaves, potato cubes, bechamel sauce, chicken stock, flour , salt and white pepper.
Hangikjöt is Icelandic smoked lamb. The preparation process begins with a dry-salting, and an extremely slow-cook over fire for a number of weeks. This traditional dish is most commonly served at Christmas with green peas and potatoes. However, Hangikjöt lamb meat can be enjoyed year-round, found thin sliced and used in sandwiches.
Svið – also known as sheep’s head – is a historical dish in Iceland from times when the people simply could not afford to waste any part of the animal. This delicacy is cut in half and boiled, with the brains removed. It can be cured in lactic acid as well, and is most often served with mashed potatoes and turnips, and in a buffet at festivals.
Puffin is another historically Icelandic dish – that’s credited with keeping the country alive centuries ago. The enormous bird population on the island means this meat is in high supply. It can be served smoked in tapas, or salted, and with a fine blueberry sauce. Puffin is sometimes served raw as a delicacy in Iceland, and can be found in a variety of restaurants catering to tourists and travellers.
Icelandic Hot Dogs are considered the best in the world. This meat blend snack is made with Icelandic lamb, pork and beef. More taste is added with a unique blend of dressings that include: raw white onion, crispy fried onions, ketchup, brown mustard, and remoulade sauce (a magical mix of capers, herbs, mayo and mustard.)
Dökkt Rúgbrauð, also known as Icelandic dark Rye bread, is traditionally slow-baked at low temperatures. Historically, Dökkt Rúgbrauð was steamed in a glass or metal mold and baked in the ground. This slow-bake method is how the bread gets its rich color and delectable texture.
Laufabrauð better known as Icelandic Leaf Bread is a crunchy side that can often be found at Christmas meals. Its simple ingredients include water, whole milk, unsalted butter, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and sugar. The dough is stretched thin and fried in sunflower oil until golden brown.
Flatkaka translates to “flat cake.” This type of Icelandic Rye Bread was historically baked on hot stones, but in modern times it’s made in a flat pan. The high protein content in Flatkaka makes it a perfect snack for a day out in Iceland. Flatkaka is often served with butter and some fish.
Brennivín is the signature distilled beverage of Iceland. This unsweetened schnapps is made from fermented grain or potato mash and flavoured with the caraway plant. It’s typically served on special occasions – such as tasting Hákarl for the first time!
Bjórlíki is a clever solution invented by the people of Iceland when beer was temporarily illegal. It’s made of Pilsner mixed with a shot of vodka.
Skyr is a centuries-old cold and sweet Icelandic treat. Think yogurt meets cottage cheese, this dairy delight can be served with milk, or berry jam with a bit of sugar on top. Skyr’s creamy, rich consistency is cultured to taste gentler and less sour than yogurt. Try it once and you just may have it everyday that you’re in Iceland!